How Normal Birth Control Pills Can Work as Emergency Contraception

Combined oral contraceptive pills that contain both estrogen and progestin can be used as emergency contraception

The Yuzpe method of emergency contraception, which consists of taking a combination of regular estrogen/progestin birth control pills, has grown in popularity and works by delaying or preventing ovulation. This regimen is most effective when taken within 72 hours following unprotected sex. Depending on the timing of use after unprotected sex, different studies showGiddy logo for article on emergency contraception | CU OB-GYN | Denver, CO it is about 56.4% to 89.3% effective.

“In order to prevent pregnancy, oral contraceptives should be combined to provide 100 mcg of ethinyl estradiol and 0.5 mcg of progestin, preferably levonorgestrel,” Dr. Danielle Frock-Welnak of CU OB-GYN said of the Yuzpe method. “This dose is taken twice, 12 hours apart.”

Emergency contraception comes in two forms, the copper-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) and pills, which include Plan B (levonorgestrel) and ellaOne. The IUD is the most effective form of both ongoing contraception and emergency contraception. It requires insertion by a healthcare professional.

Emergency contraception is generally a safe option to reduce the risk of pregnancy if you had unprotected sex. This includes the Yuzpe method.

“This method is associated with more side effects and higher rates of unintended pregnancy, that said, it’s often more convenient and cost effective,” said Dr. Frock-Welnak.


Read the Article